Random House Goes Green
Considering the fact that over 900,000 books are published *every year,* this is good news:
Making one of the most dramatic environmentally conscious production moves of any major publisher to date, Random House announced Tuesday that it will be significantly increasing its reliance on recycled paper. Mapped out over a four-year period during which the publisher will incrementally raise the amount of recycled paper it uses—it aims to go from the 3% it now relies on to up to 30% by 2010--the house called the program "the most substantial environmental initiative in the company's history."
Because its reduction in new paper use would equate to the saving of more than 550,000 trees annually (once it gets to the 30% level in 2010), Random House officials said the program is something that the company was eager to undertake.
Tyson Miller, program director at Green Press Initiative, said that while 105 U.S. publishers have adopted various policies regarding recycled paper use over the past four years, what Random House has announced is "the real deal." It's also something he hopes will spark other major houses to establish similar programs. "Many of the other multinationals have stated that they won't be first, but would most likely follow the lead," he said. "So we'll have to see what the ripple effect of this policy will look like.".
When asked how houses could afford to use more recycled paper, Miller said pricing for it might go down if demand increases significantly. Of course this hasn't happened yet so, for many publishers, getting deeper into a reliance on recycled paper means higher production costs. While Drake confirmed that Random House will not push the increased cost of its recycled paper program back to the consumer, Miller said that even if publishers raised book costs to go green, consumers likely wouldn't mind. Citing a national survey in which 80% of 1,000 readers questioned said they would pay more for books printed on recycled paper, Miller explained that people want environmentally sound publishing more than cheaper books. He then added: "Publishers can do the right thing…without it affecting their profits."